UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Upshaw Almost There

Upshaw Almost There
Andrew Upshaw

Andrew Upshaw is one day away from going wire-to-wire to secure his first-ever FLW Tour victory, and as long as the pressure and the nine pros behind him don’t knock him off course, the Tulsa, Okla., pro has a game plan to make it happen.

The Tour’s fifth event of the season, presented by Lowrance, has been a slugfest to this point. Cherokee Lake in eastern Tennessee is showing out, and while total weights aren’t what would usually constitute a “slugfest,” the sheer volume of keeper bass the field has landed this week is nothing short of extraordinary.

Upshaw's day two story

Day three coverage blog

FLW Live from day three

Complete results

Behind Upshaw, a stacked top 10 looms large. Only 1 pound, 10 ounces separates the three-day leader from Tour vet Tom Monsoor, and Upshaw is only 4 pounds, 15 ounces in front of Tim Cales, who sits in 10th place entering Sunday.

With so many anglers catching tons of fish – and so little margin for error – Upshaw has already started feeling the pressure. Fortunately, he has a safety net to help calm him down.

“To lead wire to wire is just crazy … It’s indescribable,” Upshaw admits. “Where I’m at right now, I’m trying to keep it all together, but in [the weigh-in] line I felt like I needed to throw up every five seconds.

“As far as nerves go, I’ve dealt with high-stress situations before – not just in tournament fishing but football and basketball and everything like that. Tomorrow I get to go have fun. I’ve got my family here to calm me down so everything should be fine.”

Andrew Upshaw

Upshaw’s family made the trip from Oklahoma on Friday after he started piecing together another nice bag and after already having secured the day-one lead. As it turns out, their presence could make the difference between a strong top-10 finish and his first Tour win.

Despite the boost his family’s arrival gave him, Upshaw started to feel the pressure Saturday when his bite started slow and he began the day with a trio of fish that weren’t long enough to throw in the box.

“I pulled up where I wanted to start, and I caught a non-keeper immediately, and that’s only my second non-keeper of the week,” he explains. “A few minutes later I caught another non-keeper, and then I caught another non-keeper. It really started spinning me out a little bit.”

Upshaw admits his game plan was inherently “high-risk, high-reward,” due in part to fishing an area that was susceptible to wakes from passing boats shortly after takeoff. Fishing for bedding bass, he needed some calmer water to keep those fish on their beds and ready to protect them.

Andrew Upshaw

With that in mind, Upshaw plans to change things up on Championship Sunday. Instead of starting the morning in the same place, despite the prospect of lesser boat traffic due to the 10-boat field, he plans on running a new pattern to try to catch a limit while his fish re-settle from the early-morning water disruption.

“Every morning, there’s so many wakes that it’s pushing the fish off the bed for the first 20 minutes and then they get re-set and then you’ll catch them,” he says. “That’s been the biggest issue this week for me is I hadn’t been able to get them re-set in that first 20 or 30 minutes, so I’m just going to try to be smart about it, go catch me a limit in the first 30 minutes and then go try to catch big ones the rest of the day.”

Catching big ones is the name of the game, but Upshaw knows it starts with getting five fish in the box. He wants to get on them early, if for no other reason than to lift that weight off his shoulders.

“Obviously, guys are busting them right off the bat, and I need to be that guy tomorrow,” he says. “I might not, but that’s the plan.”

When you lead wire-to-wire through three days, it’s safe to say things have pretty much gone according to plan. As long as his new game plan pans out Sunday, there’s very little stopping Upshaw from making it four in a row for his first Tour win.

 

Tom Monsoor

2. Tom Monsoor – La Crosse, Wis. – 50-10 (15)

Sixteen-year Tour vet Tom Monsoor bucked the trend of fishing for bedding smallmouth with finesse tackle this week, opting instead for old faithful – a swim jig he made himself. That little white swim jig paid off Saturday to the tune of the biggest bag of the day, a 17-6 stringer full of smallmouths.

Part of what precipitated Monsoor’s big day was fishing a new area he hadn’t fished since the practice period. It was a large cut at the south end of the lake that held a few big fish that were in the right place to hammer his jig.

“Today was the first time [fishing that spot],” he says. “In practice I caught a couple in there. Everything I fished up above, it seems like you need to find fish – dumb ones that haven’t seen my jig.”

Within about 20 minutes, Monsoor had three sizeable keepers in his box to cull out some dinks, all from that stretch. He plans to start there again tomorrow, but he’s a little concerned about the fact that the fish he caught in that section of the lake seem to have spawned out already.

“It seems like they’re spawned out down there,” he adds. “I was trying to target the ones coming up to spawn.”

Monsoor says he’ll try again in that area Sunday, but he’s ready to run up the lake for prespawners or bedding fish if that pattern dries up.

 

Dylan Hays

3. Dylan Hays – El Dorado, Ark. – 50-1 (15)

After keeping his fishing location under wraps much of the week, Dylan Hays was finally ready to discuss the strategy that has him in third place entering day four: flipping for big green bass way up in the Holston River. It’s a pattern that almost no one else got on this week, either because of how good the smallmouth fishing has been or because it takes a little while to make the run up to where the river feeds into the lake.

Hays started his practice up the river, but after checking in with other Tour pros (who were all hammering on brown fish in the main lake), he decided to give that a go for a couple days. It didn’t quite pan out, so he went back to where his week started.

“The only reason I did it was because I couldn’t get the smallmouth going,” he admits. “I started practice up there [in the river] and the first bite I got like the fifth cast of the week I caught a 3 1/2-pounder, so I wanted to do that.

“At 7 o’clock Tuesday night I ran up there and I found those fish. I got bit like every other flip. It was incredible. It was all little ones and then I caught like a 4 1/2-pounder, then I shook a big one off and then five flips later I shook another big one off.”

From then on, it was all about catching the green ones, and Hays will stick to that plan tomorrow knowing he’ll have the river all to himself.

 

Grae Buck

4. Grae Buck – Harleysville, Penn. – 49-4 (15)

As far as eventful days go, Grae Buck maybe had the most interesting of all the anglers who fished on day three. The three-year Tour pro wasn’t so much hunting fish as he was his own white whale.

Early in the day, Buck found a smallmouth on a bed that threw his hook about 20 feet from the boat. He came back to that spot about 45 minutes later and tried again, this time getting the fish to within netting distance. What happened next was a great story whether he managed to weigh it in or not.

“I hooked her again and this time I was playing her and I had the net ready,” he explains. “I went to scoop her and she pulled off, and I saw her still and I thought I could reach her and I couldn’t and I went in. Rod and reel and net went over. I caught the rod with my feet. I got ahold of the net and got them both in. I had to go back to the Power-Pole to climb in.”

It became personal at that point, and Buck once again returned to that spot about 45 minutes later.

“She bit and I set the hook and broke it,” he recounts. “I watched her jump at least six times. I was mad and I left pretty much right after that.”

Buck had no quit in him, though, and he knew he might need that fish to make the top-10 cut. So, at 3:14 – just 16 minutes before check-in – Buck went back again and this time landed his 3-plus-pounder.

With the half pound Buck culled, he ensconced himself firmly in the top five with a great chance to make some waves in the final round.

To watch his dive in the lake, click here

Andy Young

5. Andy Young – Isle, Minn. – 49-0 (15)

Andy Young is just a man who loves fishing, especially when he’s fishing for smallmouths.

The Isle, Minn., pro has been crushing smallmouth all week, and he’s been doing it in mostly the same water, doing mostly the same things – targeting spawners with finesse tactics.

Today, Young did run a little new water, but his pattern is so repeatable that it made it pretty easy to find new fish.

“I did the same stuff all day,” he says. “I ran a lot of new stuff. I pretty much know what to look for, so you just drive until you see what you like and start fishing and they’re there.

“I pretty much caught fish the whole time. I probably culled out a 15-pound limit. I may be able to catch most of them tomorrow because I think most of them are spawning. They’re moving up. They’re coming to me.”

Young makes it look easy, but it’s anything but easy to fish well enough all week to do it again on Sunday. With potentially volatile weather moving in tomorrow, Young jokes that he’s looking forward to the challenge.

“It is what it is. I like adversity. The harder it is, the better I do.”

 

News and Notes

 

Derrick Snavely

A week of limits

With as good as the fishing has been on Cherokee this week, it really comes as no surprise that all 30 pros who fished on Saturday weighed in a limit. Fewer than 20 anglers failed to weigh in five fish on Thursday and even fewer than that struggled to land five keepers on day two. There isn’t much weight separating 1st from 10th, and it’s a good bet 10 limits tomorrow will make for an exciting final weigh-in.

 

Bradford Beavers

Fool me twice

Forecasts called for more rain than was delivered on both days two and three of this event. With the exception of a couple isolated showers, it was downright beautiful most of Friday and Saturday.

Still, the forecast is a little more ominous heading into Sunday, with multiple potentially severe storms expected to move into the area and stick around. Rain and wind haven’t done much to the bite to this point, but if it gets worse on Sunday, it’ll be interesting to see what it could do to the top 10 anglers’ weights.

 

Tim Cales

A truly tight race

Less than 5 pounds separates 10th place (Tim Cales at 47-5) from first (Andrew Upshaw at 52-4). At the top, Tom Monsoor only trails by 1-10 and Dylan Hays is only 9 ounces behind him. Additionally, only 10 pounds, 3 ounces separated first from 30th this week, and 23 anglers caught at least 45 pounds over three days of fishing.

Get ready for a wild finish on Sunday.

 

Top 10 pros

1. Andrew Upshaw – Tulsa, Okla. – 52-4 (15)

2. Tom Monsoor – La Crosse, Wis. – 50-10 (15)

3. Dylan Hays – El Dorado, Ark. – 50-1 (15)

4. Grae Buck – Harleysville, Penn. – 49-4 (15)

5. Andy Young – Isle, Minn. – 49-0 (15)

6. Matt Becker – Finleyville, Penn. – 48-13 (15)

7. Tim Frederick – Leesburg, Fla. – 48-3 (15)

8. Jason Reyes – Huffman, Texas – 48-3 (15)

9. Derrick Snavely – Piney Flats, Tenn. – 48-2 (15)

10. Tim Cales – Sandstone, W. Va. – 47-5 (15)

Complete results

Tags: justin-onslow  headline-story  2019-04-11-cherokee-lake 

Champlain Midday Update – Day 3

Champlain Midday Update – Day 3

While day two was windy and rough, day three has pretty much been calm from the get-go. It has also been hot as blazes. It’s made fishing a little tougher than expected, with a lot of anglers reporting missed or lost fish and a generally slower bite. That said, a slow bite on Champlain is a great bite most everywhere else, so we’re still going to see plenty of bass. READ MORE »

Thrift All the Way on Champlain

Thrift All the Way on Champlain

Taking the win in wire-to-wire fashion, Bryan Thrift tallied 18 pounds, 4 ounces on the final day for an even 57-pound total in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Champlain. For the win, Thrift earned $44,200 and a new Ranger boat, and it’s his 11th win with FLW. The Northern Division is presented by Gajo Baits and the tournament was presented by Polaris.  READ MORE »

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

One of the windier tournament days in recent memory did a lot to reshape the leaderboard of the Costa FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. The run south to Ticonderoga was not impossible, but the wind up north kept a lot of pros from effectively fishing their best stuff. That made weights drop pretty much across the board on day two. READ MORE »

Thrift Still Ahead on Champlain

Thrift Still Ahead on Champlain

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on Champlain featured a bunch of wind and a lot of turnover on the leaderboard. Though he struggled to replicate his massive day-one success, Bryan Thrift still managed 16 pounds, 6 ounces for a 38-12 total to retain the lead. Behind him, Scott Dobson rose from ninth to second with a robust bag of smallmouths worth 18-10 for a 37-14 total. READ MORE »

Champlain Midday Update – Day 2

Champlain Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Costa FLW Series event presented by Polaris on Lake Champlain is going to be quite a swing from day one. Typically turnover in the standings is common on Champlain because the weights stay so tight, but today’s turnover is going to have a lot to do with the weather. READ MORE »

Champlain Midday Update – Day 1

Champlain Midday Update – Day 1

Takeoff was a little blustery, but overall, it’s been a perfect start to the Costa FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. The event is the kickoff of the Northern Division, which is presented by Gajo Baits, and the tournament itself is presented by Polaris. READ MORE »

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Lake Champlain Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Last year, every event in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division, which is presented by Gajo Baits, was won entirely with smallmouth bass. This season, the kickoff event on Champlain, which is presented by Polaris, looks destined to involve some largemouths. Everyone in the top five weighed green ones on day one, though somewhat surprisingly, the south end down by Ticonderoga didn’t play an overwhelming role, as only three of the top 10 anglers made the long run southward. READ MORE »

Thrift Takes Command on Champlain

Thrift Takes Command on Champlain

Less than three weeks removed from a third-place finish on Lake Champlain in the FLW Tour’s 2019 season finale, Bryan Thrift hauled 22 pounds, 6 ounces of green fish to the weigh-in stage to take the day one lead in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division opener, which is presented by Polaris. In second, Brandt Tumberg weighed 21-10, and Joe Wood is just an ounce behind him with 21-9 for third.  READ MORE »

Elrod Runs Tide, Wood on James River

Elrod Runs Tide, Wood on James River

Bryan Elrod of Mechanicsville, Virginia, won Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Piedmont Division tournament on the James River after catching five bass weighing 16 pounds, 10 ounces. For his efforts, Elrod took home $3,637. READ MORE »

Mittlestat Tops at St. Clair

Mittlestat Tops at St. Clair

Dan Mittlestat of Woodhaven, Michigan, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Michigan Division tournament on Lake St. Clair presented by Navionics Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds, 7 ounces. Mittlestat netted $6,552 for his win. READ MORE »

Schmitt Takes Champlain Title

Schmitt Takes Champlain Title

FLW Tour pro Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Maryland, won Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on Lake Champlain presented by Navionics after catching five bass weighing 19 pounds, 10 ounces. For his win, Schmitt earned $7,209 and 250 points in the Northeast Division presented by Gajo Baits standings. The winner of the division’s Angler of the Year title after five tournaments will win $3,000. READ MORE »

Big Little Boats

Big Little Boats

There is a massive surge in innovation in the fishing kayak industry, as evidenced by a showroom floor packed with canoes, kayaks, boats – and, in many cases, a combination of all of them – at ICAST 2019. READ MORE »

4 Hot New Reels from ICAST

4 Hot New Reels from ICAST

2019 is the year of the trolling motor at ICAST, but it wouldn’t be ICAST without at least a few next generation reels from some of the best manufacturers in the business. READ MORE »

Peter T and Crew Win ICAST Cup

Peter T and Crew Win ICAST Cup

Representing Lew’s, the team of John Carman, Peter Thliveros and Matthew Mattingly won the 2019 ICAST Cup at Lake Toho this morning with a five-bass limit that weighed 20 pounds, 4 ounces. It’s the first time in the ICAST kickoff event’s five-year history that a team has won two titles, and they come back-to-back – though this time it was an outright win.  READ MORE »

Kilgore on Top at Neely Henry

Kilgore on Top at Neely Henry

Andy Kilgore of Kingston, Georgia, caught five bass Saturday weighing 19 pounds, 7 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on Lake Neely Henry. Kilgore pocketed $4,426 for his win in the event and earned 250 points in the Bama Division Angler of the Year (AOY) standings. The winner of the division’s AOY title after five tournaments will win $3,000. READ MORE »

Experience Carries Siggers

Experience Carries Siggers

Dennis Siggers of Danville, Virginia, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Shenandoah Division tournament on Smith Mountain Lake Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 1 ounce. For his victory, Siggers earned $2,585 for his victory. READ MORE »

Melton Wins on Rough River

Melton Wins on Rough River

John Melton of Corydon, Indiana, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Hoosier Division tournament on Rough River Lake Saturday after catching five bass weighing 13 pounds, 12 ounces. Melton netted $4,838 for his win. READ MORE »

Jenkel Flips Bushes on Rend

Jenkel Flips Bushes on Rend

Derek Jenkel of Pinckneyville, Illinois, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Illini Division tournament on Rend Lake Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 8 ounces. Jenkel earned $4,384 for his victory. READ MORE »

Campbell Gets a Hat Trick

Campbell Gets a Hat Trick

Brody Campbell of Oxford, Ohio, won the rescheduled T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Hoosier Division tournament on Rough River Lake presented by Navionics Sunday after catching four bass weighing 7 pounds, 13 ounces. Campbell earned $5,703 for his win. READ MORE »

Harlin Sacks 24 for Ozark W

Harlin Sacks 24 for Ozark W

Michael Harlin of Sunrise Beach, Missouri, caught five bass Saturday weighing 24 pounds, 9 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on Lake of the Ozarks. Harlin pocketed $4,463 for his win in the event and 250 points in the Ozark Division presented by Bassing Bob standings. The winner of the division’s Angler of the Year title after five tournaments will win $3,000. READ MORE »